Freedom of religion in Malaysia, or lack of it

On the TimesSelect website, a story about a Malaysian woman who was born Muslim, but became Roman Catholic. She was suing to get the word “Islam” removed from her identity card, so she would be free to marry her Catholic fiancé (the article tells me it’s illegal for Malaysian Muslim women to marry non-Muslims—why am I not surprised).

Malaysia’s chief justice, Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim, said in his majority opinion that the agency responsible for identity cards had acted reasonably when it refused to change Ms. Joy’s religious status. ”She cannot at her own whim simply enter or leave her religion,” he said. ”She must follow rules.”

To my mind, a novel understanding of the term “reasonably”. By this line of “reasoning”, belief is not a necessary component of one’s religion. I guess Islam really is a simpler religion than Christianity—one need not believe in it, and may actually repudiate it, and yet be considered a Muslim. Granted, this is a matter of political power and not of faith, but can you imagine this happening on the Christian side? Christians are rightly anxious to dissociate the label of “Christian” from anyone who repudiates Christ. Not to do so creates confusion and weakens the whole group.


One Response to “Freedom of religion in Malaysia, or lack of it”

  1. Mirah Says:

    She has to understand the Islam religion,and should not accept christianity blindly.Islam is very clean and Pure religion contains guidelines to live every aspect of life..
    Just for Fiance sake she must not accept christianity,tyr to change him and put Islam before him…


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